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How do speaker manufacturers prep and paint their cabinets?

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  • How do speaker manufacturers prep and paint their cabinets?

    Most speaker brands offer painted cabinets that look flawless(in the pictures, at least). One would be inclined to believe the process is not overly complicated or labor-intensive, otherwise the cost would be too high. Surely there are standard methods and materials for these processes. Is this a closely guarded industry secret?

  • #2
    I would have to imagine most is produced on a production line, and usually in china with very low labor costs.
    I am sure there are products that also do not pass scrutiny produced that are either discarded or destroyed.

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    • #3
      There is a Wilson factor tour on YouTube where they show their process sort of.

      Painted cabinets sometimes run more $$$ than veneered.

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      • #4
        The finish quality on the older Dayton premade cabinets was top notch (I have not seen the new version) and they were from China. I guess it depends on the level of
        QC the buyer wants to pay for.

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        • #5
          I have personally seen one of the painted cabinet assembly lines in a Chinese manufacturing plant. The cabinets were CNC cut, hand assembled, and were sent through a fully automated, robotic paint line. When you're producing mass quantities, a robotic, automatic paint spray system is pretty cheap.

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          • #6
            ok, how to get it at home or on limited run of boutique speakers.....

            someone must have perfected it...

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            • #7
              I thought the Jeff Jewitt book was pretty good. Spray Finishing Made Simple: A Book and Step-by-Step Companion DVD
              John H

              Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ani_101 View Post
                ok, how to get it at home or on limited run of boutique speakers.....

                someone must have perfected it...
                It's been done for many years. The simple issue is the ability and willingness of the customer to pay for premium labor instead of choosing to pay peanuts for outsourced labor.
                What is the percentage of the merchandise PE sells that's made in US?
                http://www.diy-ny.com/

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                • #9
                  Probably pretty low percentage.
                  Craig

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                  • #10
                    Consider a 25% tariff on Chinese speakers.

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                    • #11
                      When I painted mdf I used sanding sealer two coats. Wood putty to fill gaps. Primer three coats wet sanded. At this point it looked really nice, almost perfect. Two coats of color and two coats of clear wet sanded to 3k. My skills in spraying aside it looked good till a little while later when you could see the seams. I also discovered you need more than two coats of color. From my experience the trick is finding something that can cover the seams and not show after a few months.

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                      • #12
                        formica on the sides where you have seams or go with mitered joins

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                        • #13
                          I have had good luck with sealing all the porus surfaces with shellac and even fiberglass resin. When I was much younger I worked in car audio and we painted MDF all the time. We always used automotive paint for our projects.

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                          • #14
                            Does the fiberglass not show seams?

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                            • #15
                              I've painted quite a few gloss cabinets (mostly high gloss piano-like finish) and it's a tedious process. If the cabinets are small, you can get by with rattle can paint like Rustoleum or Krylon. Otherwise a real official spray rig will be best for larger cabinets. It's almost impossible not to have seams in the woodwork telegraph through if you've used butt joints. The best way is miter joints. Then lots of high build sealer, several coats of primer, and lots of hand sanding between coats. Some paints buildup faster than others, but as a general rule, you should use minimum 6-8 color coats, wet-sanded smooth after each coat. Start with about 400 grit, then go increasingly finer to about 1500. Finally, 4-5 coats of clear. Wet-and between coats from about 1200 up to 2000. Semi-finally, use auto rubbing compound until all is smooth. Finish with polishing compound. Labor intensive? Yup. That's why with some exception, high gloss finishes are usually more expensive than finished veneer. Chinese-made cabinets would probably be cheaper.

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